How to Evernote John’s Way!

I’ve been putting all kinds of information into Evernote for 5 years now and i’ve stumbled upon some pretty great/easy ways to grab information and easily get it into Evernote, and i’m gonna share those tricks with you.

I’m going to divide this post into 2 parts: how to get information into Evernote from a desktop (Mac or PC) and how to get information into Evernote from an ios device (iPhone or iPad). Sorry, i do not have an Android device. If you do, it is likely that many of the ios methods will be transferable to Android.


I work mostly on my iPad Air. However, there are a few things i do on my desktop pc and the way i usually add information from my desktop is by using an add-on/extension for my browser called Evernote Clearly. Evernote Clearly is a free Evernote product and there is a version for Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari. It does two things: it gives you a clean reading version of almost any web page, minus advertisements, banners, etc. and it has a side panel that lets you highlight and then post the page directly into Evernote. It will even learn your posting habits and post directly into the appropriate Evernote notebook you usually use for a given type of information. You also can print your highlighted reading version of the page. Here is an example of a page before and after Clearly.

Before Clearly

Before Clearly

After Clearly

After Clearly

As you can see, Clearly has removed all the cruft  and left a clean and readable page. This cleaned up page can then be highlighted and directly posted into Evernote by clicking on the side panel on the right (not showing in this screen shot).

IOS (iPhone/iPad)

I do most of my information capturing using my iPad.  There are two ways i use most often for getting information into Evernote, and several other ways i use less often. I’ll focus on the two i use daily.

Using the Reader View

When using the Safari browser on an IOS device, in the upper left of the center section there is a four bar (usually used for menus) icon. In this case, the button is not used for a menu, but instead to toggle the safari view from a web view to a reader view. This is a very powerful and underutilized function. Here’s how it works.

iPad 1

Before pressing the Reader View button

Now, press the Reader view button and all the cruft is removed, very much like what Evernote Clearly does in a desktop browser.

iPad 2

After pressing the Reader View button

The next step is to click on the Share button to bring up the options.

iPad 3

Now select the mail button, and the IOS device places the Reader View version of the web page into an email. Now for the cool part! You’ve already set up your Evernote email address in Contacts (right?) so you just type the first few letters of Evernote into the To: box and it will autocomplete and your email is all ready to send directly into Evernote, formatted in an easy to read view. I use this process every single day at least 4 or 5 times to save web information i come across.

iPad 4

Using the Drafts App

Drafts is one of the most powerful apps available in the IOS app store, along with Evernote and an app called Workflow (topic for a future blog post). For now we are going to look at using Drafts to move information from Safari into both Evernote and Facebook (it can also be used for tweeting and sending information to other apps).

First, highlight something in Safari and tap Copy. For this example i’m using a quote i found.

iPad 5

Now, go to the Drafts App. It opens to a blank screen just waiting to be written on. In this case, instead of writing, we are going to paste the quotation we just copied from Safari.

iPad 6

You will notice below that when it pasted the quotation into Drafts, it removed all the formatting. Drafts is all about text. Yes, you can use markup language in Drafts if you want, but it really shines at stripping all the junk away and leaving you just the text.

iPad 7

Now for the cool part! Tapping on the little square box in the upper right brings up the Drafts menu. You can now send this text to any or all of these options. The menu is user configurable and there are actually hundreds of possibilities you can add. Many of you will select your twitter feed to add to this menu. My norm with quotations is to Post to Facebook, then Save to Evernote, and then Delete. Done!

iPad 8


Remember from our previous post that getting information into Evernote is just so that we can have access to it wherever and whenever we need it by using Evernote’s search function. The key is to get everything you will need to have into Evernote after installing Evernote on every device you use. Then the fun starts and you can keep adding stuff and adding stuff knowing it will be there wherever and whenever you need it.

Here’s a link back to the first Evernote post: Why Use Evernote?

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Why use Evernote?


Evernote’s motto is “Remember Everything”

  • What does Evernote do?
  • What devices can run Evernote?
  • Why would you use Evernote?
  • How does John use Evernote?
  • How much does Evernote cost?

Most people have heard about Evernote. Usually from someone who uses it and is excited about it. Also, most people don’t ‘get’ why people are so enamored with this app/program, not seeing what they could do with it, nor thinking they have a need for it. I aim to disabuse you of those ideas by answering those questions above in a straightforward way. I have no affiliation whatsoever with Evernote other than being a happy user for the past 5 years.

What does Evernote do?

It’s tempting to answer: everything, but that’s an exaggeration. However, it does do a lot.

Basically, it’s where you can save almost any kind of information you want. Such as:

  • links to web sites
  • full content from web sites (also excerpts from web sites)
  • blogs
  • lists of things, like: a shopping list, a list of books to read, a list of movies you want to rent/watch
  • notes of any kind, like from classes, sermons or political debates
  • to-do lists with check boxes you can mark as you finish things
  • quotations!
  • personal information like your driver’s license number, your license plate number, the entry code to your gate
  • you can scan all kinds of things into Evernote like your lease agreement or your social security card
  • you can also scan business cards into Evernote
  • Evernote can access your camera so you can take pictures of white boards or quotations from the page of a book
  • you can save pdf files directly into Evernote as well as office documents

Once you put all this stuff into Evernote, what then?

Evernote has a blazingly fast search ability. You just type a word or phrase into the search box and up will pop every piece of data with that word or phrase in it! Or, you can narrow your search to a particular folder in Evernote (folders are fully configurable, and you can set up hundreds if you want, or go minimalist with just 4 or 5). An optional feature actually will OCR and index pdf files, Office files, and jpegs (such as a picture of a white board).

What devices/platforms can run Evernote?

Evernote literally runs natively on everything (except linux). There are versions for IOS, Android, Windows, Mac, there is a web portal to Evernote so you can access your data anywhere with a computer and internet access even if you left your phone home. There’s even an Evernote for Windows Phone! Best of all, Evernote automatically syncs all your information and data to everywhere you have it installed so you can add, edit, or delete things on any device and it automagically happens everywhere else. That means wherever you are, you have access to all that information you’ve put into Evernote!

Why would you use Evernote?

Have you ever been somewhere like at the hospital filling out forms and you needed your husband’s or wife’s or child’s social security number? Or your license plate number for a hotel registration? Or you’re in the bookstore or the library and can’t remember the name of that book you heard about last week and wanted to read? That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

How does John use Evernote?

  1. I have a notebook set up in Evernote where i collect quotes (one of my passions). I currently have around 2500 quotes in the notebook and every author is tagged by name so that with one click i can see every quote i have from Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, or anyone else. I have made this notebook a shared folder so that anyone who uses Evernote can have a copy of my quotes notebook in their Evernote.  Just send me a request via the Contact John page and I will send you a link.
  2. I have a Health folder where i copy and paste all kinds of blogs and articles relating to health, supplements, exercise, diabetes,and more.
  3. I have a notebook set up for articles, recommendations, reviews and more having to do with books and reading.  It also contains my books to read list.
  4. I have a notebook for music reviews, articles, information about audio equipment, audio files, and my music wish list.
  5. I have a notebook with personal and  family documents i have scanned into Evernote. Things like my wife’s teaching certificate, our driver’s licenses, social security cards, lease, marriage license, birth certificates, etc.
  6. I have a notebook set up for making daily Journal entries. I admit that this is an as yet unrealized aspiration, but the structure is there to enable me to do it. I just need discipline to make it happen.
  7. I have a notebook with sub notebooks under it that contain the Keynote presentations and all my preparation notes for the Adult CE classes i’ve taught over the past 5 years or so.

How much does Evernote cost?

This is the best part! There are three price points for Evernote. There is a free version, which for many people is all they may need. The program itself is not in any way crippled in the free version. Here is a description and costs for each of the three plans.

Basic – this is the name they use for the free plan.  Obviously there is no cost.  You can use Evernote with all its features including syncing all your data across all the places you have it installed. You can share and collaborate with others.

Plus – this is the name of the middle lever plan. In addition to the Evernote program with sync and sharing, there are several additional features. This plan costs $25 per year. Here’s what you get in addition to the Basic plan:

  • An Evernote email account. You can clip information or put anything into an email, including attachments like pdf’s and email them directly into your Evernote data. I use this feature daily.
  • You gain the ability to access all or some (your choice) of your data when you don’t have an internet connection.
  • You can put a passcode on your data to protect it from access by someone using your computer or phone.

Premium – This is the plan I have used for the past 4 years. It costs $50 per year and for me it is easily worth it. In addition to all the Plus features you can also:

  • Have unlimited uploads with no monthly data cap
  • The ability to make your notes into presentations from right within Evernote
  • Evernote will automatically show you links to content you have in other notes which relates to the note you are currently accessing or writing.
  • Ability to annotate pdf files you have in Evernote
  • Most importantly to me and the reason that i use the Premium plan: Evernote will OCR and index all of your pdf and Office files that are in Evernote. This is huge! The OCRing and indexing is done on Evernote’s servers and usually only takes an hour or so to be finished once you enter the file into Evernote. Then you can search through those pdf and Office documents using Evernote’s search function.

I hope this post has given you a glimpse into just some of the things you can do with Evernote. I will be making a second post soon which will use screenshots from my computer and iPad showing you some really great tricks of how to get information into Evernote quickly and easily.

BTW, you can get Evernote for free and also sign up for any one of the three plans at

Here’s a link to Evernote Post 2: How to Evernote John’s Way!

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